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Launch food-for-work scheme to use surplus foodgrains: Kisan Sabha tells Centre


The government, saddled with huge surplus stocks of grains, should launch a food-for-work programme to take grains to the needy rather than allowing them to rot in godowns, the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) said in a statement on Wednesday.

On June 1, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) had 10.4 crore tonnes of foodgrains. Never before has the government stored such a large quantity of foodgrains. This is 8.33 crore tonnes in excess of what the government needs for operational and emergency requirements, AIKS, the CPI(M)-backed farmer organisation, said.

The unwillingness of the BJP government to use the grain for public distribution is the primary cause of this build-up of stocks, the farmer organisation alleged. Such a huge build-up of foodgrains adversely affects farmers as it works to depress prices in the open market, where a vast majority of farmers has to sell their crops in the absence of public procurement facilities. Along with this, the FCI has been forced to incur a large amount of expenditure on maintaining the grains, further raising the economic cost of the grains.

“It is criminal to hoard such a large quantity of grains during a crisis such as the present, when hunger and food insecurity affect a vast majority of people in India. It is utter callousness that instead of opening its granaries for feeding the hungry, the BJP-led Central government is hoarding grain and depriving people of food,” it said.

“This grain belongs to the people and the surplus must be distributed free of cost to all needy and the government should run (a) food-for-work programme with it to create employment,” AIKS said.

It also demanded immediate extension of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana for the entire year, universalisation of the provision of subsidised grains and use of foodstocks to massively expand employment opportunities through the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

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